Appeal helps us, others in need - Catholic Courier
Matthew H. Clark Matthew H. Clark

Appeal helps us, others in need

Over the years, I have participated in many press conferences and other events in which part of my responsibility has been to field questions and respond to them to the best of my ability.

My experience is that some questions have been very difficult; others have been relatively easy. With rare exception, they have been fair.

Looking back on it all, I remember times when I felt good about the way in which I responded to questions. But I also remember moments when it seemed that my brain was clogged with molasses and my mouth filled with peanut butter.

This morning we publicly and officially launched our Annual Diocesan Ministries Appeal (the new name for the TGA) with a press conference at Good Shepherd School in Henrietta. We invited the children to be present because — this being the 25th anniversary of the appeal — we wanted to emphasize two things: that we build on the work of those who have gone before us and that we owe it to those who come after us to pass on to them the best we have.

Around those themes of stability and continuity, I did the best I could to present some basic information about the appeal to our friends from the media. Following my comments, I invited those present to watch the seven-minute video we have produced in support of this year’s appeal. When the video was finished, they had an opportunity to ask their questions.

While some detailed questions focused on our goals, procedure and timing, we spent most of our time talking about the impact hurricanes Katrina and Rita might have on local fundraising efforts.

When they asked what I thought the impact of these catastrophic hurricanes might be on our ministries appeal, all I could do was rely on my past experience of your generosity. I shared with them that your giving to the TGA immediately following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, was higher than it had been the year before. And, I recalled other times when local controversies paralleled strong needs — when you have responded in extra measure and allowed us to remain consistent and stable in the ministries that we offer.

You have been superb in your response to the needs caused by Katrina and Rita. Our efforts on their behalf will continue. I can only ask you to remember that it is important to keep ourselves as strong and healthy as we can be. That will be to our long-term benefit and, I believe, also to the long-term benefit of our friends in the Gulf Coast area of our country. If all of us — all 125,000 of the potential donors to the appeal — do what we can, we’ll bring much needed help both to local folks and to those in storm-torn areas.

Let me encourage all who have not recently participated in this appeal to give prayerful consideration to making a gift this year. In similar spirit, I ask all who have consistently supported this effort to extend your encouraging generosity yet another time. Every gift truly makes a difference.

A final note: When the reporters finished their questions this morning, I opened the floor to the children present. They had some good questions, among which was one that quickly took first place on my list of all-time memorable questions. “Are your shoes imported?” one boy asked me. To the best of my knowledge they are not. I asked him later what had sparked his question, and he told me he had asked because my shoes were shiny.

Aren’t kids great?

Peace to all.

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